Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Swimming at Stockhom Beach, Steig Larsson Millienuuium walk, Sodermalm

 Nordic Museum, Djurgarden
Memorial for the massacre victims, Stockholm near Central Station
Cheryl at Bellmansgatan 1, where Mikael Blomkvist lived
Beach at Smedsuddsbadet where I swam

colorful buildings near Lena's apt on Roslagsgatan

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cheryl's pathetic output of cloudberries
Kaisa, Lena and Cheryl before berry picking..Thank you for your hospitality and friendship.
the lake we passed after the train tracks to Kaisa's Sami village

the girls and Ailo bogged down with buckets

Anna with cloudberry jam before we slathered it on waffles

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Picking Cloud Berries near Kiruna in Swedish Lapland; arrival in Stockholm

Just arrived in Stockholm and will try to post my photos of the amazing cloudberry experience from yesterday when Lena, Kaisa, Lena's mom and five-year old nephew Ailo went to pick the elusive yellow cloud berry, native to Lapland and having the best showing in years. We drove half an hour outside of Kiruna, and had to cross the train tracks  and walk two kilometers to Kaisa's ancestral Sami village to get them..they grow low to the ground in bogs, in mossy patches you see the red and yellow staring up at you... so we had to wear our boots and rain pants and rain jackets and walk through tundra and turf battling hordes of hungry mosquitoes to get some of the reddish yellow delight, and I only lasted half an hour but found part of a reindeer jaw as my reward for being a wimp.  Kaisa's mom Anna laughed at the measly output in my bucket...later she made homemade waffles, cloudberry jam and whipped cream...oh my God  so delicious.. I had seconds....as the rain fell I sat in the warm cottage reading my book (Netherland by Joseph O'Neill) while the others picked berries out by the lake to beat the Norwegian tourists out of the berries everyone covets (they are allowed on private land in Sweden)...but Kaisa's mom said in Northern Sami language, so it was lost on me, that since they just had a tragedy, they will let the tourists pick the berries near their cottage, cut them some slack just this once. Kaisa thankfully translated..her English is wonderful..photos to come...Stockholm is lovely in July...back to urban energy...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Photos from Riddu Riddu and Memorial Concert ends festival on note of hope

Yoik workshop in Turf Hut

 The Riddu  festival was cut short due to the tragedy--but a memorial concert closed out with hope and encouragement to stay strong and unite across differences from many of the indigenous performers.  The wonderful Russian band Yat-Kha closed out with a powerful rock set that included traditional Asian instruments, modern guitar, bass and drum, and throaty roaring of its lead singer combining heavy metal with ancient chant-- Tuvan folk-rock throat singing by Evgenii Tkachev ..they only played a few songs and I wanted it to go on...

lead singer on left
traditional and modern instruments

Violet Hill, from Troms county  Norway
The other groups that performed last night were a youth group, from various Indigenous traditions, mostly Scandinavian and Russian, and they were symbolic of the spirit of youth that cannot be crushed by someone like the shooter, who was targeting the youth of the social democrats , Norway's ruling liberal party..I watched in the rain with Lena and Kaisa (above in the shawl) who works for the Swedish Sami Parliament in Kiruna, Sweden.  The bands Saturday night that stood out for me were-Violet Hil a local Sami bandl and Timbuktu from Sweden (althought they went on late after I had left but I heard their sound check). Other highlights of the festival before and despite the tragedy:  a yoik workshop I took in the turf hut (see photos) and the hippie like calm atmosphere, beautiful music coming out of the yurta (a small yurt where intimate concerts took place) and diversity of attendees and their colorful traditional outfits.

face painted performer from Greenland and kids in Sami dress; me and Lena in her Lavvu of a Hunt's man

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tragedy in Norway

We are all in shock here and the news in is Norwegian, so I only know what I hear second hand...lone Norwegian or two of them, one named Anders with political motive, killed 80 children at a government sponsored camp outside Oslo and also setting off the bombs in Oslo using phone detonator and fertilizer bomb...Riddu Riddu program cancelled today. For me it is causing much sadness and stress as I am reliving 9-11 although different circumstances... the fear, chaos, horror and vulnerability that someone can ruin so many lives...and traumatize all of us...I am supposed to go with Lena to Sweden so we will see what happens now... saying goodbye to the Tromso and Montana University Indigenous research group with whom I have been staying...

Friday, July 22, 2011

At Riddu Riddu Sami festival

There is no wi fi here, so I cannot transmit my wonderful photos yet, but a journalist here will help me so check back later. Opening ceremony featured wonderfully avante garde dance featuring multiple indigenous peoples with masks and darting dance movments. with speeches by various officials of the festival...and a new cultural center has opened on the festival site, supported by Norway as it was controversial and tense before regarding Sami and local non Sami Norwegians...

Anniversary show  by Svante Henrysson "The Plateaus Within Me" which featured a large orchestra and music that was both classical, jazz, folk and rock...it was beautiful and then we were treated to free coffee and many different cakes including chocolate, strawberry shortcake and carrot cake...  I saw my friend Lena Sternberg, a Swedish Sami multi media artist who is showing "The Hunting Man Laavu" which is a Sami tent set up to ironically account for hunting with a toy gun with pink ribbon, a yule log burning on a TV set , a half eaten sandwich, a hunting cap, and I plan to post photos of it and other art here at the festival...There are many Sami laavus of all shapes and sizes, as well as a turf hut made of grass and sticks that looks like a doorway into nature. Lena said Sami kids hang out in them and there are animals furs inside to keep you warm...many of the laavus here are free for people to go in to make fires and stay warm...we are surrounded by amazing mountains...  more later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tromso, Norway : Mountains and Maritime Trade

 Laura has welcomed me to her lovely apartment with a view of the Tromso harbor and mountains...she lives high on a hill not far from the university where she teaches. It's hard to believe how far north in the arctic we are located here.  We went for a walk and today I am exploring the center of town, visiting Perspektivet Museum , with its great photo shows on the last days of the arctic in Greenland and Iceland, and another interesting exhibit on the Norwegian author Cora Sandel, who is famous for a trilogy of novels based on a character named Alberta, written between the two world wars.One more day here to do research at the Sami Centre, then off to Riddu Riddu http://www.riddu.no/day-to-day-program.190273.en.html

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kayaking Buzzards Bay, Leaving Cape...Flying to Tromso, Norway

 Kayaking in Buzzard's Bay, low tide, you can touch the bottom with your finger...sunny day makes me want to jump in of course, as I love Massachusetts ponds in summer, am kind of obsessed with them, but it's too shallow, so paddle over to one of the islands after a local boy from Brooklyn who spends summers here, tells us there water is deeper...it's a "private" island, but I jump in any way, it's still not deep enough to really swim.  I had some great swims this week-- off Oak Bluff's on Martha's Vineyard and at at ocean beach on the National Seashore close to Provincetown at the top of the Cape..wish we had been able to take the dune bike path there...

Stuart survives his first paddle...at 6'4", he needs special long boat for his legs, but it's a nicer boat than mine..we see baby crabs all over and rabbits, shore birds...my water shoes disintegrate into shards of fabric and rock, so out they go.

Cranberry Bog ice cream at Somerset Creamery ...full of walnuts, chocolate chips and pieces of cranberry, no doubt local ...Stuart must always stop for ice cream even though we were having dinner early with some friends...and who am I to resist homemade ice cream on a warm July afternoon?  I know ice cream in Scandinavia is not exactly dreamy, whereas New England and ice cream are serious bedfellows...my memories of a cup at Herrell's in Northampton, Mass, a couple of weeks ago when I was at the Wellspring House retreat working furiously on my first novel, will carry me through the ice cream wilderness as I eat reindeer and  lots of fish...flying out to Tromso tomorrow night and will be met by my friend Laura who teaches Native American Literature at the University there...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome to my Obsessive Journey Blog

Hello everyone with any remote interest in my escapades. I am currently on Cape Cod, in New Seabury, a lovely condominium complex in Mashpee Township, upper Cape...the only Cape township named from a Native American source...today's obsession is kayaking in Monk's Cove...it's Stuart's first time kayaking, so hopefully it will be the blissful experience that we know kayaking can be..the weather is perfect, the ocean calm, and we are listening to 80s new wave...